Author: Ellie Strand

Disabled/retired with ME/CFS, former nurse practitioner, ad/PR exec, journalist. Enjoy gardening, traditional cooking, ME/CFS advocacy and research.
Tibetan Buddhist

This site has been hijacked!

I have been very ill for some time and not paying attention to this blog. No doubt that is the reason why people have hijacked this site to post information about romance and intimacy.

None of these articles were reviewed or approved by me. I have taken them down.

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Eucalyptus Oil Is Perfect For Colds, Flu and Other Uses

Eucalyptus essential oil (EO) smells like the rub Mom used to put on your chest when you had a cold or the flu. It still works wonders.

Did you know that homemade disinfectants, hand sanitizers and mouthwashes made from eucalyptus EO will minimize exposure to the toxic chemicals found in many over-the-counter products? But before I get into how to make these inexpensive, effective household products, let’s review some background.

The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia, where it is the preferred food for Koalas, but is now found around the world. Aboriginal Australians crushed and then soaked eucalyptus leaves to make medicine and used the bark for everything from canoes to bowls.

A eucalyptus tree was brought back from Tasmania to the British Museum in London In 1777 at which time it was given a scientific name. There are more than 500 species of eucalyptus now. However, only a few are used to make the essential oil–Eucalyptus odorata and Eucalyptus globulus. The colorless essential oil is obtained through complex extraction processes that involve either distilling or cold-pressing the eucalyptus leaves.

Six Ways Eucalyptus Oil Works

Eases upper respiratory irritation and congestion

Besides doing battle against microbes, eucalyptus can reduce redness and swelling. Researchers at Zhejiang University in China found that eucalyptus oil hinders the body’s toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) response, a reaction that produces cytokines that lead to irritation and swelling. By limiting these TLR4 reactions, eucalyptus oil may boost your immune system, allowing your body to heal more quickly and efficiently.

Effective against many common cold germs

Eucalyptus oil placed in a petri dish along with various microbes was effective against virus and bacteria species that cause cold sores, fever, acne, and sore throat.  One of the main components of eucalyptus oil, 1,8-cineole, is a natural monoterpene also found in tea tree oil and rosemary–both are potent antivirals and antibacterials. Isolated 1,8-cineole is less effective than the oil itself, which supports a common finding in natural medicines–an entourage effect in which the various components work together to be more effective.

Fights bad breath and tooth decay

Eucalyptus globulus has antibacterial effects against mouth microbes linked to tooth decay and is more effective at preventing the growth of bacterial biofilm than commercial-grade fluoride.  Eucalyptus flavored chewing gum helps with bad breath, also known as halitosis.

Fights ringworm & other skin/nail fungus infections

Brazilian researchers found that the high concentration of the compound 1,8-cineole fights harmful organisms that can infect the skin of humans, cats, and dogs. Eucalyptus oil also naturally repels nail fungus, making a great foot soak.

Soothes dry scalp and nourishes hair

According to research in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, hair products with eucalyptus help improve bounce and elasticity, starting at the roots.  The healing properties of eucalyptus also help with an itchy scalp by boosting the production of ceramides, lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and help skin retain moisture. Reduced flakiness and irritation, as well as improvements in hair gloss and hair fiber properties, were seen regardless of race, age, or gender.

Combats resistant head lice  

Some lice species are resistant to traditional treatments like permethrin-based head lice shampoos. However, recent research published in Phytomedicine found that eucalyptus essential oil is an effective treatment for head lice. There was one reported case of a preschooler who developed seizures after treatment with eucalyptus, so always test a skin patch to rule out an allergic reaction.

Six Thrifty and Effective Ways

To Use Eucalyptus Oil

Inhale for chest and sinus congestion

Add boiling water to a medium size heat-safe bowl and add 5-10 drops each of eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.

Place a towel over the top of your head and the bowl and inhale the vapors for a few minutes.

You can get a similar effect by placing a few drops of eucalyptus and rosemary oil in your hot shower. The oils will naturally rise with the heat of the water, entering your nose, throat, and lungs for an invigorating lift. If you prefer, replace rosemary with peppermint essential oil.

Make your own vapor rub

Mix 3-5 drops each of eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils with an eighth of a cup of either raw shea butter or organic coconut oil in a small bowl.

Spread on your chest to feel the warmth and breathe in the vapors.

Any leftover rub can be transferred to a clean glass container for safe storage. Use dark glass for optimal shelf life.

BONUS: This mixture also can be used on aching muscles and joints.

hand-repelling-germsHand sanitizer without chemicals or alcohol

Fill three-fourths of a small (4 oz.) spray bottle with distilled water.

Add one tablespoon aloe vera gel, 10 drops each of eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, and clove essential oils, plus 20 drops of either lemon, orange or grapefruit essential oil.

Shake before each use and spray your hands or hard surface two or three times. You may want to test this on an inconspicuous place before using on a table or countertop to avoid possible discoloration.

Effective mouthwash and toothpaste

Mix two drops each of eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils plus two teaspoons baking soda in a medium-sized (8-oz) airtight bottle filled with distilled water.

Shake, then gargle with a mouthful.

Rinse mouth out completely.

You can also brush your teeth with baking soda mixed with a couple of drops of eucalyptus and any other favorite essential oil, such as peppermint or spearmint.

DIY insect repellent

Add 3-5 drops each of lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus oils to 8 oz. of distilled water.

A plastic spray bottle works fine but a dark-colored glass bottle will keep the oils potent longer.

Shake before each use.

Non-toxic air freshener

Mix half a cup of baking soda (or coffee beans) in a small container with a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

Add a few more drops of eucalyptus oil to your mixture when the scent fades.

Cautions When Using Essential Oils

Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and therefore you should always take precautions when using eucalyptus or any essential oil due to their potency and strength. Most essential oils can irritate if placed directly on the skin or hair, so it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil like almond, jojoba, olive or coconut oil before using. Essential oils should never be used on an open wound. Only food-grade essential oils should be taken internally. Unless your healthcare provider recommends it, avoid using eucalyptus oil with young children.

Eucalyptus oil is an effective and beneficial essential oil that has a long history of use for congestion-related ailments from bronchitis to asthma and for relieving symptoms typical of a cold or flu. It can also be used in everything from hand sanitizers and deodorants to mouthwash and conditioner, thanks to all of its antiseptic, antibacterial, and inflammation-reducing properties.

For these and many other reasons, eucalyptus essential oil should be part of your natural medicine chest.

Have you tried eucalyptus essential oil before? Any uses I haven’t covered or good/bad experiences you care to share with other readers?

F&V-small-store-display

Organic Food Slashes Cancer Risk

Organic Food Slashes Cancer Risk

A new study of almost 69,000 people finds a significant reduction in the risk of developing cancer among people who eat an organic diet. Lymphomas, the cancers commonly found in people with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome), were reduced by a whopping 76%. The risk reduction is 86% for Non-Hodgkins lymphomas. Overall cancer risk was reduced by 25% when compared to people who never consume organic foods.

The study gathered data from 68, 946 French organic food consumers between 2009 and 2016. Participants reported their consumption frequency of labeled organic foods (never, occasionally, or most of the time).

The research team hypothesized that lower exposure to pesticide residues on food is the reason for the dramatic decrease in cancer. This is supported with a body of research showing that organic crops have lower levels of pesticide residues, and that eating organic food decreases your exposure to pesticides.

This is the first study on such a large scale to find such clear support of organic foods. The well-designed study allowed the research team to follow up with the 68,946 participants over several years to see how their food choices impacted cancer risk, while controlling for confounding variables like dietary patterns and other lifestyle factors.

Research-Based Support For Organics

Research linking organic diets with a lower impact on health is becoming more common.

    • <li “”=”” class=” style=”>One study of just over

35,000 Norwegian women

    • found mothers who ate organic food during pregnancy decreased the risk of certain uro-genital birth defects. <li “”=”” class=” style=”>Other research on reproduction found that eating fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residues was associated with a

lower total sperm count

    • and a lower percentage of normal-looking sperm among men presenting to a fertility clinic.  <li “”=”” class=” style=”>Eating high–pesticide residue fruits and vegetables was

associated with a lower probability of clinical pregnancy and live birth

    in a study done at a fertility clinic associated with a teaching hospital. Compared with women who ate less than one serving/day of non-organic fruits and vegetables, women eating more than two servings/day had an 18% lower probability of pregnancy and a 26% lower probability of live birth.

There is no disputing that cancer is becoming an epidemic in the US. It is diagnosed in new patients over a million times per year and is estimated to kill over 600,000 people in 2018 alone.

It just makes sense to do whatever we can to reduce our risk of cancer. Eating organically is, in my opinion, the hands-down simplest way to do this. But what about you? Is eating organic beyond the limits of your food budget?

round MEAction logo

People With ME Need Your Help To Stop The CDC Mistake

This is an email I received this morning. Please sign the petition. The information you need to make a decision is below.


Sign this #MEAction petition and stop the CDC from making ME treatment guidelines without our input!

View this email in your browser

Take urgent action to stop the CDC from repeating a terrible mistake.

 We need your help.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is updating its ME treatment guidelines. As part of this work, it is attempting to quietly hire the same independent contractor that previously recommended graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of ME. 

We cannot let history repeat itself: Sign the #MEAction petition to stop the CDC from repeating a terrible mistake.

Then SHARE on social media and with friends and loved ones. We must act quickly and respond by Friday, Aug. 31st. That’s this Friday!

We encourage allies around the world to fight this contract by signing the petition, no matter where you live.

SIGN the petition

Or read on to learn moreThe CDC is attempting to quietly hire the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) for a sole-source contract to help them develop new federal guidelines for ME/CFS treatment.

That may not sound that bad, but there is plenty of reason to be alarmed. This same contractor was hired four years ago to do a similar literature review of the evidence base for ME/CFS treatments by a CDC sister-agency, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It did not go well.

The EPC’s 2014 report included recommendations for graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and concluded that PACE was a good trial with little bias!

Only through the dogged work of many ME advocates and an #MEAction petition did EPC finally issue a reanalysis TWO YEARS LATER

However, they still refused to publish this 2016 addendum in a peer-reviewed journal, making their conclusions effectively invisible to any future developers of treatment guidelines for METhis is not a contractor whose expertise or quality of work the CDC should trust.

We cannot let history repeat itself. We have to stop this right now. The CDC is trying to rush the EPC contract through with minimum time for us to respond.

We only have until August 31 – THIS Friday – to respond.

Sign the petition to demand that the CDC not issue this contract, put the project on hold, and meet with #MEAction immediately to discuss implementing a transparent and collaborative process for creating future guidelines that engages advocates and community representatives, and includes experienced ME researchers and expert practitioners.

We need you to take this urgent action today. EVERYONE can SIGN and SHARE this petition to the CDC, including those living outside the US.Sign the Petition Now!Let‘s make NOISE the CDC can’t ignore.

In Solidarity,
Ben HsuBorger
Community and Campaigns DirectorCopyright © 2018 #MEAction, All rights reserved.


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Netflix “Afflicted” Series Deliberately Misrepresents Chronic Illness

The stars of the new Netflix series, Afflicted, are up in arms about how their conditions were misrepresented. The documentary series follows six people living with chronic illnesses.

A Los Angeles-based documentary company, Doc Shop, which works with National Geographic, CNN, Discovery, A&E, AMC, and Travel channel, produced the series.

According to all of the people portrayed in the documentary, the producers promised them a compassionate look at chronic illness. Every participant in the series had to have a diagnosis from a physician and be determined mentally healthy by a behavioral health specialist before filming started.

The participants collectively responded in an article posted on Medium. Individually, others wrote blogs about their experience or posted a live YouTube video.

We were all told that we would be participating in a project that would show our lives and our struggles with illness through a “compassionate lens.” We participated because our diagnoses are misunderstood and stigmatized. We thought that revealing some of the most intimate moments of our lives would lead to greater public understanding. We hoped that with it might come investment in research to find biomarkers and better treatments. We never fathomed that we were participating in a project that would instead expose us and our communities to further ridicule and disbelief.

MediumThe Truth Behind Netflix’s ‘Afflicted’

I stopped watching the series after the first episode because it was so clear that the producers went for sensationalism over realism. They consistently showed the people suffering from severe conditions as mentally ill and having psychosomatic illnesses.

Jamison Hill, a writer with ME, wrote a blog post about his experience.  

One such episode was devoted to “Identity,” suggesting that those of us with chronic illnesses spend so much time in poor health we become consumed by the lifestyle and don’t know how to live any other way, which is a completely asinine point to make. It’s unfair to categorize people like this because they “become” their illness. If giving all of your surplus energy to try to make yourself better is “becoming” an illness, then sure we “become” it, but if we’re talking about finding some sort of clandestine enjoyment or comfort in living as a sick person because we don’t know how to live any other way, well, that’s one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard; that’s not us.

https://jamisonwrites.com/2018/08/20/netflix-and-hill-the-true-story-behind-afflicted/

Jake Sidwell, who has chronic Lyme disease, posted an hour-long YouTube video about the making of the show and how unfortunate the experience has been. In it, he discusses questions posed by people who saw the documentary. 

Scientists with deep knowledge of the research literature — including several from the Open Medicine Foundation’s “Community Symposium on the Molecular Basis of ME/CFS” at Stanford, which the film crew did shoot — were either not interviewed or their interviews ended up on the cutting room floor. Instead, Afflicted frequently relies heavily on the skeptical voices of “experts” who have no relevant professional or academic expertise in our diseases.

MediumThe Truth Behind Netflix’s ‘Afflicted’

“Acknowledging” skepticism doesn’t make people take us more seriously, especially when the evidence of their biological basis – both my abnormal lab results and the broader research – is purposefully excluded. There’s a big difference between acknowledging the skeptical perspective and, say, devoting three entire hour-long episodes to psychobabble sound bites about it, which is precisely what the producers did.

https://jamisonwrites.com/2018/08/20/netflix-and-hill-the-true-story-behind-afflicted/

Did you see Afflicted? What was your reaction to it?

hand reaching out of water

Look Online For More Disabled Income

Many of my readers like the Serenity For Spoonies series of gorgeous peaceful scenery that I post from time to time. I like finding and posting them, too. 

Fortunately, I can schedule these picture posts to appear even when I’m not able to do anything else. Like during the past few weeks when I crashed harder than usual.

Like many of us with ME or other fatiguing illnesses such as MS or heart failure, I’m accustomed to spending a day or even two recovering my energy stores after an exhausting day. But this most recent relapse (I prefer relapse to the official name of post-exertional malaise) kept me in bed or lounging in the recliner longer than I experienced in quite a long time.

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Fortunately, there are safety nets for people like us. For example, Medicaid can pay for prescriptions and in some states, there are waiver programs that will provide extra support for bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, etc.  Meals on Wheels is another program that will give us at least one meal a day at a reduced rate.

My years in public relations taught me to look for good things even when something appears not so good, so the silver lining to this most recent relapse was that I had a chance to step back and think about this blog.

Although I’m still not settled on a specific way forward, I do want to incorporate some of the things I’m learning about making extra money.

We all know or can imagine how difficult it can be when we have no source of income from a working spouse, parents or something else. Many of us live close to the edge with Social Security Disability as our only income.

However, even though I’m enrolled in a Medicaid community waiver program, I still get tired of counting pennies, shuffling the due dates of bills so I had funds in the bank when they came due, and basically running out of money before my next Social Security check came in. 

dollar-sign

Obviously, if the government declares you disabled you cannot work a 40-hour week any longer. For many of us, even part-time work is too strenuous. This leaves working from home as about the only option open to someone who is disabled with a chronic illness.

So I started looking for ways people are making money by working at home. Some are too strenuous and/or impractical for people like me who suffer from brain fog, for example answering customer service calls. Others take too much time for little return, like responding to surveys.

woman-holding-fan-of-money

I kept finding sites that promised thousands of dollars each month–even millions each year–making money online. Many of these programs are basically multi-level marketing in which you set up a website or websites that entice others to sign up for the expensive program in which you enrolled.

So I fell for the marketing and signed up with a young man whose main promotion was to get his followers excited about fancy expensive cars and a digital nomad lifestyle. He frequently posted videos showing him and his young child in various spectacular places around the world. The promise was that you, too, could be doing this.

expensive-car

His way was a hard-driving, hard-selling method of getting you to sign up and then getting others to do the same thing. You made money from the initial signup and then every month your people remained in the program. He offered free training on how to make videos that would go viral and how to write sales copy that would get people to buy things you recommend. 

This was just not for me nor was it appropriate for someone who often has to step back for several days and not do any online work. He offered a money back guarantee, so I wrote to say the program was just not for me and I wanted a refund.

However, I did not qualify for a refund in his eyes because I didn’t stay in the program and do everything as he laid it out. I finally had to threaten to go public and say John Smith (not his real name) was stiffing a grandmother before he grudgingly refunded my money.

My next foray into online marketing was through a young woman who promised income and location freedom with blogging. That sounded great since I already had a blog.

Sue Smith (not her real name) had a largish following of women and at the time I was involved she had just moved overseas using her blog as her sole source of income.

There were examples galore on her website of how to develop what is called a personal brand. In other words, this woman used photos and stories of herself in different locales as the subject of blogs about the place she was in, where she ate and the clothes she wore.

Sue (not her name) was involved every day with members of her group and offered tons of positive reinforcement and support. Almost a polar opposite to the first guy.

She succeeded by getting sponsors for these blogs, like a clothing company, a restaurant or a tourism department. Of course, she also promoted getting others to sign up using a referral code that was unique to you. 

I learned quite a bit about making pretty websites and posts, but this still was too much work. I also didn’t like the constant self-promotion. Her focus on the personal brand just didn’t fit with my lifestyle.

After all, who wants to see pictures of me lying in bed, on the couch, in the recliner…you get the idea. Who in their right mind wants to follow someone who can’t leave the house more than a couple hours a week and spends the remainder of the time resting?

My next foray got me into the world of selling on Amazon. That is a whole different story that I will tackle in the next post.

What do you think of my experiences?

Have you tried any work at home schemes? (I’m using schemes like the British do and not with any connotations of something risky or underhanded as we Americans often think of a scheme.)